Government reforms funeral payments scheme
26th January 2018
The government is going ahead with its proposed changes to the Funeral Expenses Payment scheme, following a consultation in 2017.
The scheme offers a contribution towards funeral costs for individuals in receipt of qualifying benefits.
In a written statement posted on 22 January 2018, the government confirmed that it will be changing the eligibility conditions, to make the scheme easier to access and more widely available.
From 2 April 2018, when the changes come into force, claimants will be able to:
- receive contributions from charities, relatives or friends without them being deducted from the overall sum payable toward funeral costs
- make an application for help with funeral costs up to 6 months from the funeral date, instead of the current 3 months
- submit evidence in support of their claim electronically.
However, the maximum payment individuals can receive will stay the same - at £700.
A survey by SunLife of 1,524 people put the average cost of a basic funeral in 2017 at £4,078 - a rise of 41% from £2,390 in 2007.
Graham Jones, commercial director at SunLife, said:
"It is good news that the government is taking steps to simplify the process of making a claim for Funeral Expenses Payments.
"However, the fact that £700 is the maximum amount available and most people will not even qualify for that highlights the importance of putting something aside to pay for your own funeral."
Get in touch to discuss your personal finances.